PSA announces Mardi Gras plans for 2018

Sydney Mardi Gras float. Source: jezarnold, Flickr

Under the banner “Pharmacists for equality”, the PSA says it hopes pharmacists are recognised as an important part of an equitable healthcare system

The pharmacist membership organisation announced on social media on Monday that it plans to be involved in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras next year.

It will be the event’s 40th anniversary year, with the parade and after party to be held on Saturday 3 March 2018.

“PSA is committed to ensuring that equality is achieved, and that pharmacists are recognised as an important part of an accessible and equitable healthcare system,” it says in a Facebook post.

“PSA is proud to announce their planned involvement in the 40th Sydney Mardi Gras in 2018. An organising committee will be convened in the coming weeks to coordinate the development, design and implementation of this initiative.

“PSA will auspice and coordinate a float on behalf of the profession, with the theme ‘Pharmacists for equality’.

“An invitation to submit Expressions of Interest to join the organising committee will be released through social media in the coming weeks.”

The social media announcement. Source: PSA, Facebook.

The announcement has already garnered comments from pharmacists on both ends of the spectrum.

“Yasss! I don’t know why we haven’t been involved in previous years. The doctors, dentist and nurses have been involved for many years. Time for pharmacist to represent,” says one commenter.

“How does participating in the Mardi Gras ensure an equitable healthcare system? … The PSA should continue its great advocacy for the profession in matters of a truly professional nature such as remuneration, CPD and education and leave the Mardi Gras for those who wish to participate on a personal level,” says a pharmacist on the AJP Forum.

“I say go for it but make sure the white coats are lycra and have lots of sparkle and bling. Seriously….. a non issue when there are more serious things to consider in pharmacy today. I like the idea,” responds another.

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  1. pagophilus

    So rather than working on addressing the issues in pharmacy the PSA is going to spend time and money supporting a highly polarizing political position, and essentially supporting half-naked people engaging in highly sexualized behaviour in broad daylight in public. You’re on a loser with this one PSA. Perhaps stop trying to be “relevant” and get on with the job. If LGBTIQ+ people want greater acceptance, the “in your face” Mardi Gras is not the way to acquire it.

    • Daniel Roitman

      Go on mate, get in your time machine. The dark ages are waiting for you to return home.

      I say bravo PSA, what a wonderful initiative. You have my support and I’m sure of many more pharmacists.

    • Lance Emerson

      To be clear – no PSA member money is being spent on this. And the organising committee comprises volunteers.
      PSA actively supports and encourages equality and diversity – and continues to work on supporting pharmacists and the communities in which they work. This is part of that support.
      PSA CEO

      • John Wilks

        Dear Lance,
        Has the PSA sought the views of its members on this issue? When was the membership vote taken on this issue? I didn’t receive any voting material. Or was this a unilateral decision made under the ‘guidance’ of advocates for this seminal social change?

        The irony is that a SSM is not a diverse relationship; rather, it is a “two of the same relationship”. A SSM is a diluting of the diversity of the psychological inputs that a child would otherwise receive from a male and a female perception and perspective of life.

        • John Wilks

          And the results of an AJP membership poll – at last they sought members’ views – shows that 41% support pharmacy involvement in same-sex marriage issues and 52% do not.

          We want to know what you think about pharmacy and LGBT+ rights.
          Definitely 100% yes
          Yes, I think pharmacy should probably get involved
          No, I don’t think pharmacy should be involved in this area
          Definitely 100% no
          I don’t really care
          I’m undecided on the issue

  2. Peter b

    Sorry but I agree the professional position of pharmacists is NOT improved at all by representation in the context of the Mardi Gras which IS political and sexual in nature. It is a display of gay people which is fine but the atmosphere is not conducive to a professional body promoting equality in a balanced way.

    • Claire K

      Completely agree Peter B

    • Jarrod McMaugh

      If this is your position, I’m not sure why you’d start by apologizing for it…. Unless you feel that the position isn’t defensible.

      My opinion is that this does assist the professional position of pharmacists on two fronts:
      1) it provides a clear message to pharmacists that their sexual orientation isn’t (or shouldn’t) be a barrier to their career
      2) it provides a clear message to individuals that as health professionals we are approachable with regards to health issues that are intrinsically associated with sexuality

      Pharmacy is often seen as a conservative profession (and this may be justified based on media around access to harm minimisation, emergency contraception, etc). Raising the profile of the pharmacy profession as health providers that are able to assist in all areas of health is always important for the professionalism of pharmacists.

      • Nik Zafiropoulos

        Hi Jarrod, in your opinion is there any evidence that a pharmacist’s sexual orientation is a barrier to their career? Also is there any evidence that pharmacists are not approachable in regards to health issues involving their sexuality? People are cluey. If a pharmacy doesn’t offer Harm Minimisation or MAP they go to the next, and most pharmacies tend to refer them elsewhere if they cannot assist. I do not think participating in a parade will achieve what you are mentioning. Furthermore, the professional image of the pharmacist is not enhanced by the PSA being involved in parades where people bear their breasts & butts. Need I say more? A recent poll, clearly shows that pharmacists are not in favour of the PSA being involved. Is the PSA going to ignore them? Pharmacists in general are facing tough times, whether you are an owner or an employee. The PSA should focus it’s efforts on improving remuneration. This will please the majority of its members.

  3. Claire K

    ‘The PSA should continue its great advocacy for the profession in matters of a truly professional nature such as remuneration, CPD and education and leave the Mardi Gras for those who wish to participate on a personal level’. This should be the stance. How is it equality when the PSA is deciding matters ‘on behalf of the profession’, when most people have differing opinions on the matter? Not happy PSA. Remaining neutral on such matters is the most professional stance and would represent true equality.

    • jason northwood

      I totally agree with Claire – I do not wish to belong to a “professional society” that gets on the gay bandwagon to score cheap political points. There are many of us that are sick and tired of being preached to, tired of identity-politics being jammed down our throats, tired of being hectored, lectured, and told that unless we accept this a “normal” there is something morally wrong with US. The PSA should “stick to its knitting” or in this case CPD.

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